You may have heard about someone having to post bail to get out of jail. But what does this really mean? And what are bail bonds exactly?
When a person is brought into custody for a crime, they are then held in jail until their court dates or if the judge decides to release them in their own recognizance. But there is also a third option. A person arrested can obtain their release from incarceration by posting bail.
Bail is the amount of money that a judge sets for a defendant to pay in order to get released from custody. It acts as an insurance for the court to make sure that the defendant won’t miss any of their court-appointed appearances as well as meet all the other conditions the judge may give them.
In the event that the defendant fails to show up in court when they have to, then the bail amount will be forfeited to the court. Not only that, but a warrant for arrest will be issued towards the defendant and they will be considered as a fugitive.
Usually, the amount for bail is an incredibly high amount to make sure that the defendant really sticks to his court commitments. However, most people can’t get enough funds to pay for the entire bail amount. This is when they choose to get bail bonds.
A bail bond is a form of surety bond and is an agreement between the court, the defendant, and the bail bond agent. To secure a person’s release from jail, the bail bondsman will assure the court that they will be responsible for the full bail bond amount in the event the defendant fails to appear in court.
As long as the bail amount for the defendant has been set, the time it takes for the bail bondsman to post the bond depends on the jail that the person is held in.
When it comes to the paperwork, the bail bond agent can fix this within minutes of you first contacting them. However, the processing time for the posted bail bond varies with the jail. If a person is held in a city jail, it can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on how busy they are. If the defendant is arrested in county jail, the bail bond process can take from 6 to 12 hours.
A bail bond agent charges a premium to post the bail bond as well as any extra costs they may get while obtaining the defendant’s release. The amount of the bond premium depends on the state that you are in. For bail bonds in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, the premium fee is 12% of the entire bail amount.
Sometimes, the bail bondsman will also require a person to put up collateral or get a co-signer in order to obtain the bail bond. This is especially true when the bail bond amount is extremely high. The co-signer for the bail bond will be responsible for the defendant to make sure they appear in court and also have to pay for the full bail bond amount in case the defendant is absent for his hearings.
The collateral that you put up for the bail bond will be returned to you once the case is over. This is as long as the defendant was able to meed all the court’s bail conditions and there are no outstanding charges left to be paid to the bondsman.
When it comes to the premium, however, this amount will not be refunded. This is a one-time service fee that the bail bond agent charges to arrange the bail bond and secure a person’s release from detention. No matter what the outcome of the case may be, this won’t be reimbursed.